Financial Resilience for Charities – Harnessing the power of communities

As charities look to diversify and strengthen their financial strategies, we wanted to share some ideas for harnessing the power of your ‘community’ to aid this process.

The first question to ask of your organisation is:  Who are your ‘community’ of stakeholders

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  • Do they have a geographical focus or share a certain interest?
  • Is the stakeholder an organisation, business or individual?
  • Can a point of contact have multiple interests and ways in which it engages with your organisation?
  • How are you managing and building relationships with these stakeholders for the long-term and in-line with their expectations?

At Economic Change, we help organisations to build, maximise and empower relationships with their community of stakeholders through harnessing the real value and power of Client Relationship Management Systems using Salesforce CRM. Salesforce.org offers charities free and significantly discounted user licenses, to help them make the switch to digital cloud-based customer management. Find out more about Salesforce https://www.economicchange.co.uk/management-systems/

Charities and their teams are moving away from keeping excel spreadsheets of isolated contacts to embedding joined up communication strategies and creating a 360 degree view of interactions with the same point of contact. This change is helping to transform how charities are making the most of their relationships, whilst strengthening relationships with their supporters.

Some ideas for harnessing the power of your community of stakeholders and generating new financial strategies are:

  • Community Fundraising – Crowdfunding donations can be a great way to raise funds for a project that will benefit a community, allowing people to donate a sum of money of their choice. For inspiration check out some of the crowdfunding sites that work with charities and social enterprises buzzbnk.org, www.spacehive.com, www.generosity.com and The Childhood Trust that focuses on match funding grants with community donations www.childhoodtrust.org.uk.
  • Community Ownership – Developing a legal model that enables the community to effectively part-own and have a say in the development of your project can increase buy-in. This might be financial but also in-kind resources to help develop community resources such as nurseries, shops, leisure facilities etc. There are different approaches to facilitating this, from developing a Community Shares Co-operative Scheme https://communityshares.org.uk to setting up a Community Interest Company with Shares gov.uk/government/organisations/office-of-the-regulator-of-community-interest-companies.
  • Community Trading – Developing a social enterprise model by developing products and services that you can effectively sell to your community of stakeholders e.g. venue hire, facilities, training courses, etc. Social Enterprise UK’s, State of Social Enterprise Report 2015 provides some facts and figures about the growth of the sector- socialenterprise.org.uk/advice-services/publications/state-social-enterprise-report-2015 along with the RBS SE 100 Index https://se100.net.
  • Community Volunteering – Developing a volunteering community can help to retain some services where financial resources may be scarce and it can also help to add in-kind financial resources to a project, particularly if match funding is required. Setting up and managing volunteers can entail initial financial investment from your organisation, therefore the financial benefits and return on investment (ROI) needs to be calculated. For support in setting up a volunteer service or for further inspiration, check out different models including Timebanks timebanking.org, NCVO Volunteering Support www.ncvo.org.uk/practical-support/volunteering and SPICE Timecredit systems www.justaddspice.org.

Heather Black, CEO of Economic Change CIC is speaking at the Large Charities Conference 2016 on this subject, organised by the Charity Finance group in September https://cfg.org.uk/events/event-information/2016/september/evt31477.aspx.

You can also attend our free Economic Exchange event: Community Investment Strategies find out more here.

If you would like to find out more about our support to improve the way you manage and develop relationships with your community stakeholders using Salesforce CRM, then please contact Heather Black to arrange a free consultation heather@economicchange.co.uk  or call 020 3051 8333.

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